The 10 Biggest Lakes in Mississippi

Enid Lake
Norm Lane/

Written by Taiwo Victor

Updated: June 11, 2023

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Mississippi is a state in the southern United States named after the Mississippi River, which runs along its western border. The Magnolia State is rich in history and culture, with a pleasant climate to boot. Mississippi, in fact, never gets much colder than nine degrees celsius, making it a year-round travel destination. The state is undeniably the place to go for the best seafood, and the good ole southern comfort cuisine, but there is also the opportunity to experience the wonderful outdoors. It is densely forested, although there are bogs, mountains, bays, and lakes.

The Mississippi lakes are a terrific place to cool off in the summer or fish all year. Whatever your preferences are, the Mississippi has something for you. Spend some time at one of Mississippi’s lakes, where you can swim and watch the sunset. Below, we will explore the 10 biggest lakes in Mississippi.

The 10 Biggest Lakes in Mississippi

10. Lake Washington

Lake Washington is a 3,000-acre (12.14 km²) oxbow lake that used to be part of the Mississippi River, but it drifted east at approximately 1300 AD. The double-crescent-shaped lake is rich in history, with many historic sites along its shoreline. Due to the large quantities of crappie, bass, bream, and catfish, Lake Washington is now a popular fishing location. However, there are limits on how many fish you can catch every day to keep the lake well-stocked. Although there is a boat launch on the west side of the lake, most of the land around it is used for agriculture. Swimming, boating, water skiing, tubing, and wildlife viewing are other popular visitor activities.

    9. Okatibbee Reservoir

Okatibbee Reservoir

The 11,000-acre multipurpose project, Okatibbee Lake, has about 7,000 acres of land and 4,100 acres of water.

Okatibbee Lake lies within the Pines Region of eastern Mississippi near Meridian and offers a variety of nature and water-based recreational opportunities. It is an 11,000-acre multipurpose project, but the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has a wildlife management license for about 7,000 acres of land, so the lake alone is 4,100 acres (16.6 km²) in size. Swimming, boating, and fishing are just a few activities available along the shoreline. It features some of the best catches in the state, such as largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. However, according to MDWFP’s most recent assessment, there are roughly 55 alligator species at Okatibbee. Squirrel and deer hunting is the most popular, and waterfowl hunting is surprisingly good.

    8. Aberdeen Lake

Aberdeen Lake is a man-made reservoir on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in northeast Mississippi, dammed by the Aberdeen Lock and Dam in 1981. The US Army Corps of Engineers manages the 4,121-acre (16.67 km²) lake and its neighboring recreational land areas. Swimming, fishing, water skiing, boating, and nature trekking to the top of the area’s surrounding clay and limestone bluffs are just a few outdoor day-use recreational activities available. At Aberdeen Lake, anglers target largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, and bass. The city of Aberdeen has a lakefront restaurant, the historic Elkin Theater, and many historic homes that are open to the public as living history home museums.

    7. Enid Lake

Enid Lake

Enid Lake spans 6,100 acres and is famous for its camping options.

Although most of Enid Lake sits in Yalobusha County, the 6,100-acre (24.69 km²) lake also extends into Panola and Lafayette counties. Enid Lake is most known for its camping options, but it is also a renowned fishing spot. The lake produces some massive white crappies, which are abundant when they transition from spawning sites to deeper water in the shallows, river or creek channels, or the main lake. There are nine recreation sites on the lake’s shoreline where you may go picnicking, horse riding, or hiking. Be prepared to spot birds, such as herons, deer, bald eagles, and terns as you trek. The George P. Cossar State Park is on the lake’s southwest corner. There are 76 campsites, 13 cabins, and an 18-hole miniature golf course on the property.

    6. Bay Springs Lake

Bay springs lake

Bay Springs Lake measures about 6,700 acres of surface area and has a shoreline of about 133 miles.

The Jamie L. Whitten Lock and Dam, also known as Bay Springs Lake, is the northernmost body of water on the 234-mile Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The lake is 6,700 acres (27.11 km²) in size and has 133 miles of recreational shoreline for day use and overnight accommodations. Visitors can use a 150-boat marina, a tourist center, and recreational areas like the Piney Grove Campground, with 139 Class-A campsites. Tourists who want to cruise around the lake can hire pontoons from the family-run marina; swimming, boating, picnics, and hiking are also popular activities.

Largemouth and spotted bass, walleye, sauger, white-tailed deer, and turkey are among the abundant animals, and fishing and hunting are also available as long as you have licenses. Throughout the spring, summer, and autumn, the lake hosts a variety of fishing contests.

    5. Columbus Lake

Columbus Lake is located on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, on the outskirts of Columbus. The John C. Stennis Lock and Dam, located near Columbus, keeps it under control. If you are a fan of water-based activities, you will enjoy water skiing, tubing, boating, and fishing, all available on the 9,000 acres (36 km²) of freshwater. A marina and two boat ramps sit on the lake’s south shore, providing access. Redear sunfish, largemouth bass, carp, smallmouth bass, bream, bluegill, and catfish are among the fish that thrive here.

Whether you’re baitcasting, spinning, or fly fishing, you will have an excellent chance of catching fish on this lake. Golfing is also available as an option, in addition to water-based activities. There are four golf courses within driving distance for people who want to get away from the lake.

    4. Arkabutla Lake

Arkabutla Lake

Out of the “Big Four” flood control reservoirs in northern Mississippi, Arkabutla Lake is the smallest and shallowest.

Arkabutla Lake is a man-made reservoir in Tate and DeSoto Counties, which was established due to the 1937 Flood Control Act. The lake is now impounded from the waters of the Coldwater River and is about four miles from Arkabutla. Arkabutla is the smallest and shallowest of the “Big Four” flood control reservoirs (FCRs) in northern Mississippi, with a summer pool of 11,870 acres (48 km²).

It is easy to see why Arkabutla Lake attracts over 2 million visitors yearly. Swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking are just a few of the leisure activities available at the lake. Arkabutla Lake is a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing holiday with the option of visiting nearby cities and attractions. Pavilions are available at some lakeside campsites, where guests may enjoy a 360-degree perspective of the area, ideal for photographing the stunning scenery and wildlife.

    3. Ross R Barnett Reservoir

Ross R Barnett Reservoir

Created in 1965, Ross Barnett Reservoir spans 33,000 acres and is the third-largest lake in the state.

The Ross Barnett Reservoir, sometimes known as “The Rez” by the residents of the Capital/River Region, was created in 1965 by damming the Pearl River for drinking water supply. The reservoir’s name came after Ross R. Barnett, Mississippi’s 53rd governor, well-known for his strong advocacy for segregation.

The lake is about 20 miles from downtown Jackson and attracts more than two million people each year. It covers 33,000 acres (134 km²) and has 105 miles of shoreline, offering 16 parks, 22 boat launches, and various hiking and mountain biking trails. Sailing, boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, and sightseeing cruises are popular visitor activities. Anglers can catch channel, blue, flathead catfish up to 100 pounds, crappies, and largemouth bass.

    2. Grenada Lake

Grenada Lake Mississippi

The largest body of water located entirely within the state is Grenada Lake.

Grenada Lake is the state’s largest body of water entirely confined inside state limits, sitting in northern Mississippi’s Hill Region. Its construction began in 1954, following the devastating floods of the Great Flood of 1927, and it now encompasses over 35,000 acres (140 km²) of surface area. Grenada Lake is a vast inland paradise that has a wide range of activities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts. Camping, swimming, picnicking, golfing, hunting, boating, and birdwatching are popular activities.

Grenada Lake hosts 16 professional fishing competitions every year, including the Bass Pro’s Crappie Masters Tournament, the Grenada Lake Crappie Classic Tournament, and the Magnolia Crappie Club Tournament. The Grenada Lake Project covers 90,427 acres, with much of it open to the public for hunting, providing good possibilities for deer, turkey, squirrel, and other game animals.

    1. Sardis Lake

Sardis Lake

The largest and most picturesque lake in the state is Sardis Lake.

Sardis Lake is the state’s largest and most picturesque lake, but the fun-filled recreational opportunities are what draw millions of visitors annually. The 98,520-acre (398.7 km²) reservoir is a haven for water skiing, sailing, fishing, and picnicking. In addition, there is even a beach where you can unwind and soak up the sunlight. There are fishing opportunities for bass, crappie, and catfish, and if you like hunting, get ready for deer, turkey, quail, and duck prowling the area. Various public use areas encircle the lake, including the John W. Kyle State Park, and it sits on the Little Tallahatchie River. The Sardis Lake Marina, situated on the southeast side of the lake, has 140 spots, a restaurant, boat, ski, tube, and wakeboard rentals.

Summary of the 10 Biggest Lakes in Mississippi

10Lake Washington3,000 acres (12.14 km²)
9Okatibbee Reservoir4,100 acres (16.6 km²)
8Aberdeen Lake 4,121 acres (16.67 km²)
7Enid Lake6,100 acres (24.69 km²)
6Bay Springs Lake6,700 acres (27.11 km²)
5Columbus Lake9,000 acres (36 km²)
4Arkabutla Lake11,870 acres (48 km²)
3Ross R Barnett Reservoir33,000 acres (134 km²)
2Grenada Lake35,000 acres (140 km²)
1Sardis Lake98,520 acres (398.7 km²)
Table of the 10 Biggest Lakes in Mississippi

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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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